The Financial Recovery

I spent my twenties being fairly irresponsible with my finances.

I guess that, ed as the lower earner in a couple, viagra dosage I always felt like I could leave someone else in charge of that part of my life. If I’m honest, budgeting and my finances scared me: council tax, PAYE, mobile phone bills, store cards… I’m ashamed to admit that I got in more financial pickles than I’d like to admit to.

Yep, money always left me feeling out of my depth, and so I went all ostrich-like and buried my head in the sand. I never felt like I had enough, so I just stopped thinking about it.

A very grown-up attitude, I think you’ll agree ;)

So when I became single at 27, finding myself slap bang in the middle of being responsible for budgets and finances and savings and credit (ARGHH!) was a massive surprise. Not only was I responsible for my own finances, but I needed to make sure I made and saved enough to support the two little people in my life as well. It was quite terrifying, come to think of it.

I had one choice at that point: survive or sink.

Aviva tool

My good friend Laura recently asked me how I made that decision at that time, how I said to myself that I had to keep going, create success out of a difficult situation. I told her that it never felt like that. It never felt like a choice. There was only one way out of my financial divorce situation, and that was up: I had to make my money work for me.

Surviving was my first option, but thriving was the second. Thriving would be the ideal way out – I wanted to make a life for the three of us, create a living for myself that would mean my children would never want for anything.

And so I started at the bottom. It was rough, my credit record was appalling and there were lots of companies I owed money to. But I worked hard, sorted out payment plans, managed expectations, and slowly but surely within a couple of years I was home free. No debts.

Not only that, I even started a savings account. I bought my first car outright (as a freelancer with my history I’m now mildly terrified of credit so prefer to save for big purchases) and felt comfortable enough to take some time off work before this Christmas when juggling home and such a busy job got a little bit too much. Paying my tax wasn’t a problem this year and I’m in the black on every single bill.

Aviva tool

It wasn’t easy: when I say I’ve spent the last three years working hard, I mean I’ve been working hard. Eighty hour weeks at some points, times when there was so much going on at work that I didn’t know what I was doing at home. It’s slowed down now, but I’m satisfied that all my hard work was to get us financially where we needed to be.

So it was really timely when Aviva got in touch recently and asked me to test out their new financial tool. Now, I was very interested to have a go because, although I’m a million times better with my wallet than ever, I’m still better at spending than I am saving. I still have my weaknesses – scented candles, organic food from Waitrose, dirty martinis – and I know that, with a little extra planning, I could do even better with my budget.

The tool is really clever. You answer some questions about your behaviours, not all necessarily related to finance, and then you’re told what your saving personality is, and where you excel or need work. It then points you in the direction of places that can help you learn more about your particular profile. You might be a Day Dreamer, Super Stretcher, Professor Chill or Enlightened One…

Aviva tool

Aviva’s tool has told me I’m a Turbo Saver (yay!), but it’s highlighted one of my biggest cash downfalls: making my money work harder for me. I have an advanced current account, an ISA and a savings account but beyond that I’m clueless, and I don’t even know if I’m getting the best rates at my current bank. I’ve been with them 20 years and it’s always seemed too much of a hassle to switch… so I’m looking forward to learning more about where I keep my hard-earned dollar.

Secondary to getting to know my financial products, I also need to save hard this year. We’re embarking on an exciting adventure and will be moving house to a place that is very much ours this winter (local school catchments being what they are, there’s really no choice), and though I still have some savings I need more. So we’ll be calling on the Aviva Budget Planner to help with this and squirrel away that nest egg for the next move.

I’ll be reporting back shortly on how we get on – I’m actually a bit scared of seeing if I really do fritter money away using the a Budget Planner – but it’s all for the greater good. Watch this space!

Thank you to Aviva for working with MTT. 

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  1. Candy Pop wrote:

    I plan to take the test but I am a little scared! :) x

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  2. thismummylark wrote:

    Ill take a look :)

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  3. Slummy single mummy wrote:

    Test done! I have a great instinct apparently, but can be a little too casual about things. I’d say that’s probably fair! I’ve had my fair share of financial pickles and I think it actually makes you feel far prouder when you do sort yourself out, plus you appreciate how important it is, and generally feel better about yourself for doing well.

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  4. Polly wrote:

    i’ve always been a ‘bury my head in teh sand’ kinda gal… the last few years I’m slowly trying to change that though….

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  5. Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl wrote:

    Proper snaps to you for getting your shiz together post divorce. Nothing like a bit life change to focus the mind, is there?!

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  6. Alison, Not Another Mummy Blog wrote:

    From what you’ve said here, the quiz got you bang on! Love it!

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  7. Kathryn wrote:

    Good on you Alice. I admit I do lean on G a lot financially as he has always earned more than me and we share an account but i think it’s really inspiring how you got a handle on your finances xx

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  8. Katie @mummydaddyme wrote:

    Well done for being a turbo saver, I got a little bit in the middle when I did the test! I like to save and scrooge on every day things but then I won’t think twice on blowing lots of money on a holiday or a camera. I am so much better than I was though. x

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  9. Gill Crawshaw wrote:

    This is fantastic, sounds like you’ve done brilliantly lady – people spend their lives trying to sort this kind of stuff out! GIRL POWER. I got ‘the enlightened one’ on the test – like how it makes quite a dry subject more fun x

    Posted 3.24.16 Reply
  10. Adele wrote:

    What a journey! I can’t really imagine doing what you’ve done but I suppose it’s needs must. Sounds like you’ve worked bloody hard. You deserve those scented candles!

    Posted 3.25.16 Reply
  11. John Adams wrote:

    Very best of luck with using your budget. It’s something I’ve done in the past that’s worked very well.

    Posted 3.26.16 Reply
  12. Fritha wrote:

    I think you’re amazing Alice, I have never lived alone or had be fully responsible for all the bills etc as I always shared with friends or was in a relationship. I know I could do it of course but I think I’d find it massively overwhelming especially as I’m the type of person who if I have money..I spend it!! x

    Posted 3.26.16 Reply